The government is yet to decide on the new chairman and managing director of the National Aviation Co. of India Ltd (Nacil) that runs Air India, the country’s largest airline by fleet size although the incumbent Vasudevan Thulasidas retires in three weeks.
At least nine people had been shortlisted from among the 51 applicants for the post earlier this year, but the screening committee headed by cabinet secretary K. Chandrashekhar could not decide on the two people who will move into a final selection round, after five hours of one-on-one interviews on Thursday, according to people familiar with the process who did not wish to be named.
State of flux: State-owned carriers Air India and Indian were merged last year to set up Nacil. (PTI)
Thulasidas, 59, retires at the end of this month.
Civil aviation minister Praful Patel will choose from the two candidates, and his choice will have to be cleared by several other government bodies before it is finally appproved by the Prime Minister’s Office, making it a time-consuming process.
Vishwapati Trivedi, the airline’s joint managing director who will leave his present post on 31 March, the company’s strategic business unit head Amod Sharma, and director (personnel) Anup K. Srivastava were among those who were interviewed on Thursday.
“But two people didn’t turn up,” said one official present at the meeting, referring to the nine candidates who were called for the interview.
“It (the selection process) is in a state of flux,” the same official said without elaborating.
The five-member interview panel included Chandrashekhar, the Prime Minister’s principal secretary T.K. Nair, civil aviation secretary Ashok Chawla, personnel secretary Satyananda Mishra and chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board N.K Sinha.
It was not immediately clear why the decision could not be taken.
The selection panel will meet again next week.
Air India and Indian were merged last year to set up Nacil, an airline company with 33,000 employees.
While there is little clarity on the road map on leadership, the functioning at the airline has been hit by the presence of eight large worker unions, which have jointly called for a strike on 18 March protesting the merger process.